On September 8, 2011, I attended the fall general meeting of the Lake Huron Fishing Club of which I am a member. The guest speaker was Dr. Chris Bunt of Biotactic Inc. who delivered a fascinating presentation about his Biotactic fish and wildlife research services. Due to fact that I listened much of the time instead of writing information down, I am going to mainly use direct quotes from various parts of his website. These excerpts will be noted. Biotactic Incorporated – Dr. Christopher Bunt, Founder Biotactic’s mission statement: “We strive to develop and provide holistic, realistic solutions and strategies for fish protection and conservation based on experience and cooperative understandings: Biotactic services and specialties include but are by no means limited to the following fields of scientific research, outreach, and ecological conservation in relation to conservation of fishes, their habitat, and everything that affects them worldwide:” Please see their website for further explanation. However, in the case of Denny’s Dam, I think most of the research will be directed at fish migration and passage studies, underwater fish monitoring, fish ways or fish ladders in the areas of design and operation, and remote fish passage monitoring/ research. To be more explicit, “We have seventeen years of experience monitoring fish passage and the effects of dams and weirs on fish and other wildlife. We use remote monitoring techniques such as radio telemetry, acoustic telemetry, physiological telemetry as well as overhead and advanced underwater videography to unobtrusively observe animals.” In addition to studying fish, “we design and install wildlife safety rafts that allow animals such as frogs, turtles, raccoon, squirrels, skunks, groundhogs, deer, and other small to medium-sized vertebrates to escape from drowning in steep-walled reservoirs, and leave an area of danger by their own volition.” Demands for this technology have been worldwide. The company did research monitoring and recording spawning behaviour of fish on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The data that was collected will help design and locate marine protected areas. Korea is currently investigating this technology for use in their country. In North America, 10 sites are currently being studied. They are referred to as BRAVO node 1- 10. The Denny’s Dam site will be called BRAVO node 11. BRAVO nodes 12-18 are currently being developed but their locations have not been announced. Please check their website for a map of the specific areas being monitored and researched. Each site is host “for a combination of streaming and archived video, fish movement and water temperature data.” On some sites, the rate of flow of the water is also noted. The closest spot to the Saugeen River is on the Beaver River at Thornbury, Ontario. At that site, the researchers are monitoring rainbow trout and salmon and are doing fish counts. It has been online since April 4, 2011. Available to anglers online (at the Thornberry fish ladder) are the total fish passing through, the number of Chinook salmon passing through, the peak time, the peak passage rate (fish per hour), the peak passage rate (salmon per hour), and the water temperature. This information is updated daily. As of September 8, 2011, three Chinook salmon passed up the Thornbury fish ladder at a peak time of 7 a.m. However, as Dr. Bunt noted, the time it takes a fish to go up the fish ladder will vary. It depends on many conditions like water flow, temperature, how long it rests in the staging area, how long it takes the fish to actually find the fish ladder, etc. The recording units that Biotactic Inc. uses are called BRAVO and are basically “underwater fish monitoring systems for fishways and open habitats.” The website states that they “are ideal for monitoring fishways and any other artificial or natural underwater habitat. These units are self-cleaning and designed for long-term, semi-permanent or permanent installation in freshwater and marine environments. Typical hardware and software configurations consist of 1-4 live underwater streaming video camera/ sensor pack systems that automatically filter, collect and transfer novel and interesting fish activity for outreach, education and research.” Video of the fish are as clear at night as in the day due to an infra-red lighting system that does not disturb the fish The video collected by the BRAVO system is particularly useful for long-term research objectives related to inter- annual variation in fish migrations pattern, migration patterns, migration timing and habitat utilization and reproductive behaviour. The system has also been proven to be useful for monitoring and observing behaviour of benthic organisms such as mussels, crayfish, diving ducks, turtles, various spawning behaviour and a wide range of fish and aquatic mammals such as otters.” Please see the website for more information. The BRAVO camera system can actually sense the difference between fish species. It can also recognize individual fish as they swim past the camera so that they are not counted twice (or more) as the fish passes the camera. The data recorder also notes whether the fish are of small, medium or large size. The camera is a little larger both round and longer than a can of pop. So, what does that mean for those anglers who fish at Denny’s Dam or below the dam? Well, it means that from your home, wherever that is, you can check the water temperature, the daily history of the days before, and the live- feed videos from the fishway at Denny’s Dam and then decide whether to drive to Denny’s Dam to go fishing. If you are camping at the park and have access to a computer and the internet, you can check the website and then decide whether to go fishing or stay in bed. Going fishing is always the best option. I think… It takes some concentration and interpretive watching when the river water is turbid but most videos are clear from what I have seen. BRAVO node 11 (Denny’s Dam) is not up and working as yet but Dr. Bunt is hopeful that we can see what is going on in the fish ladder by the end of September. The BRAVO system that Biotactic Inc. uses was created and developed by them and it is a world-wide industry leader. The Ontario Steelheaders and all anglers should be overjoyed to have this system installed at Denny’s Dam. I am sure that it will be beneficial to our fishery. Biotactic Inc.’s website is www.Biotactic.com . Please visit the site and see what is going on at the other BRAVO node sites too. Be sure to check out the online live-time videos of all sites